Development of the Nervous System

Development of the Nervous System

3rd Edition - January 25, 2011

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  • Authors: Dan Sanes, Thomas Reh, William Harris
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080923208

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Development of the Nervous System presents a broad and basic treatment of the established and evolving principles of neural development as exemplified by key experiments and observations from past and recent times. The text is organized ontogenically. It begins with the emergence of the neural primordium and takes a chapter-by-chapter approach in succeeding events in neural development: patterning and growth of the nervous system, neuronal determination, axonal navigation and targeting, neuron survival and death, synapse formation and developmental plasticity. Finally, in the last chapter, with the construction phase nearing completion, we examine the emergence of behavior. This new edition reflects the complete modernization of the field that has been achieved through the intensive application of molecular, genetic, and cell biological approaches. It is richly illustrated with color photographs and original drawings. Combined with the clear and concise writing, the illustrations make this a book that is well suited to students approaching this intriguing field for the first time.

Key Features

  • Thorough survey of the field of neural development
  • Concise but complete, suitable for a one semester course on upper level undergraduate or graduate level
  • Focus on fundamental principles of organogenesis in the nervous system
  • Integrates information from a variety of model systems, relating them to human nervous system development, including disorders of development
  • Systematically develops knowledge from the description of key experiments and results
  • Organized ontologically
  • Carefully edited to be presented in one voice
  • New edition thoroughly updated and revised to include major new findings
  • All figures in full color, updated and revised
  • Specific attention on revising the chapter on cognitive and behavioral development to provide a foundation and outlook towards those very fast moving areas
  • Instructor website with figure bank and test questions


Neuroscience and developmental biology researchers, students, and educators - mid to upper level undergraduate bio / pre-med, and graduate and medical schools

Table of Contents

  • 1. Neural induction

    Development and evolution of neurons

    Early embryology of metazoans

    Derivation of neural tissue

    Interactions with neighboring tissues in making neural tissue

    The molecular nature of the neural inducer

    Conservation of neural induction

    Interactions among the ectodermal cells in controlling neuroblast segregation


    2. Polarity and segmentation

    Regional identity of the nervous system

    The anterior–posterior axis and hox genes

    Hox gene function in the vertebrate nervous system

    Signaling molecules that pattern the anterior–posterior axis in vertebrates: heads or tails

    Organizing centers in the developing brain

    Forebrain development, prosomeres, and pax genes

    Dorsal–ventral polarity in the neural tube

    Dorsal neural tube and neural crest

    Patterning the cerebral cortex


    3. Genesis and migration

    What determines the number of cells produced by the progenitors?

    The generation of neurons and glia

    Cerebral cortex histogenesis

    Cerebellar cortex histogenesis

    Molecular mechanisms of neuronal migration

    Postembryonic and adult neurogenesis


    4. Determination and differentiation

    Transcriptional hierarchies in invariant lineages: C. elegans neurons

    Spatial and temporal coordinates of determination: drosophila CNS neuroblasts

    Asymmetric cell divisions and asymmetric fate

    Generating complexity through cellular interactions: the drosophila retina

    Specification and differentiation through cellular interactions and interactions with the local environment: the vertebrate neural crest

    Competence and histogenesis: the mammalian cortex

    The interplay of intrinsic and extrinsic influences in histogenesis: the vertebrate retina

    Interpreting gradients and the spatial organization of cell types: spinal motor neurons


    5. Axon growth and guidance

    The growth cone

    The dynamic cytoskeleton

    Dendrite formation

    What do growth cones grow on?

    What provides directional information to growth cones?

    Cell adhesion and labeled pathways

    Repulsive guidance

    Chemotaxis, gradients, and local information

    Signal transduction

    The midline: to cross or not to cross?

    Attraction and repulsion: desensitization and adaptation

    The optic pathway: getting there from here


    6. Target selection


    Target recognition and target entry

    Slowing down and branching in the target region

    Border patrol: the prevention of inappropriate targeting

    Topographic mapping

    Chemospecificity and ephrins

    The third dimension, lamina-specific termination

    Cellular and synaptic targeting

    Sniffing out targets

    Shifting and fine tuning of connections


    7. Naturally-occurring neuron death

    What does neuron death look like?

    Early elimination of progenitor cells

    How many differentiated neurons die?

    Survival depends on the synaptic target

    NGF: a target-derived survival factor

    The neurotrophin family

    The trk family of neurotrophin receptors

    How does the neurotrophin signal reach the soma?

    The p75 neurotrophin receptor can initiate cell death

    Cytokines act as neuron survival factors

    Hormonal control of neuron survival

    Cell death requires protein synthesis

    Intracellular signaling pathways that mediate survival

    Intracellular signaling pathways that mediate death

    Caspases: agents of death

    Bcl-2 proteins: regulators of programmed cell death

    Removal of dying neurons

    Synaptic transmission at the target

    Afferent regulation of neuron survival

    Intracellular calcium mediates both survival and death


    8. Synapse formation and function

    What do newly formed synapses look like?

    Where Do Synapses Form on the Postsynaptic Cell?

    How Rapidly Are Synapses Added to the Nervous System?

    The first signs of synapse function

    The decision to form a synapse

    The sticky synapse

    Converting growth cones to presynaptic terminals

    Receptor clustering and postsynaptic differentiation at the NMJ

    Agrin is a transynaptic clustering signal at the NMJ

    Receptor clustering signals in the CNS

    Scaffold proteins and receptor aggregation in the CNS

    Innervation increases receptor expression and insertion

    Synaptic activity regulates receptor density

    Maturation of transmission and receptor isoform transitions

    Maturation of transmitter reuptake

    Short-term plasticity

    Appearance of synaptic inhibition

    Is inhibition really inhibitory during development?


    9. Refinement of synaptic connections

    The early pattern of connections

    Functional synapses are eliminated

    Many axonal arborizations are eliminated or refined

    The Sensory Environment Influences Synaptic Connections

    Activity Influences Synapse Elimination at the NMJ

    Synapse refinement is reflected in sensory coding properties

    Activity contributes to topography and the alignment of maps

    Spontaneous activity and afferent refinement

    Critical periods: enhanced plasticity during development

    Heterosynaptic Depression and Synapse Elimination

    Involvement of intracellular calcium

    Calcium-activated second messenger systems

    Gain control

    Homeostatic plasticity: the more things change, the more they stay the same

    Plasticity of inhibitory connections

    Synaptic influence on neuron morphology


    10. Behavioral development

    Behavioral ontogeny

    The first movements are spontaneous

    The mechanism of spontaneous movements

    More complex behavior is assembled from the integration of simple circuits

    The role of activity in the emergence of coordinated behavior

    Stage-specific behaviors

    Genetic determinants of behavior

    Environmental determinants of behavioral development

    Beginning to make sense of the world

    Asking babies questions (and getting some answers!)

    Acute hearing

    Sharp eyesight

    Sex-specific behavior

    Genetic sex

    Hormonal control of brain gender

    Singing in the brain

    Genetic control of brain gender in flies

    From Genome to Brain Gender in Vertebrates?

    Genomic Imprinting: The Ultimate in Parental Control

    Hit the Ground Learning

    Learning preferences from aversions

    Skill Learning: It Don’t Come Easy

    Getting information from one brain to another



    Molecules and Genes Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 360
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2011
  • Published: January 25, 2011
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080923208

About the Authors

Dan Sanes

Dr. Sanes is Professor in the Center for Neural Science and Department of Biology at New York University. Named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2010 for his research in auditory central nervous system development, his research has been supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and the National Science Foundation. His lab studies synaptic plasticity and central auditory processing, and the phenomenon of hearing loss during development.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor, Center for Neural Science and Department of Biology, New York University, NY, USA

Thomas Reh

Dr. Reh is Professor of Biological Structure and Director of the Neurobiology and Behavior Program at the University of Washington. He is currently a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, and of a start-up biotechnology company, Acucela. He has received several awards for his work, including the AHFMR and Sloan Scholar awards and has published over 100 journal articles, reviews and books. Funded by numerous N.I.H. and private foundation grants, his lab is focused on the development and repair of the retina, with an overall goal of understanding the cellular and molecular biology of regeneration in the eye.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor of Biological Structure and Director of the Neurobiology and Behavior Program, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

William Harris

Dr. Harris is co-chair of Cambridge Neuroscience and Director of Studies in Neuroscience. He is also Head of the Department of Physiology, Development, and Neuroscience, and is Professor of Anatomy. Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 2007, he was Professor of Biology at UCSD prior to accepting a position at Cambridge. His lab is working to elucidate the cellular and molecular events that are used to push or induce cells to transition from proliferating stem cells to differentiated neurons and glia, and how particular regions of the nervous system produce the right number of neurons and the right proportions of different neuron subtypes.

Affiliations and Expertise

Head of the Department of Physiology, Development, and Neuroscience, Professor of Anatomy, University of Cambridge, UK

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  • TugceD Fri Mar 01 2019

    Great textbook!

    Great textbook!